returning to self and life’s simple pleasures

January 2012 may be the longest month of my life. Cancer diagnosis at the beginning of the year, when one tends to be in starting over and setting intentions mode, is an odd parallel to live. Still, it has been in many ways quite wonderful. Cancer forces one to take stock of what is important and to pay attention to now.

I spent much of 2011 searching and absorbing information. Some I needed, most was just padding. I searched and searched as if there were a magic solution, a formula to tell me how best to live and prosper. I knew deep down there was not, but still I searched. I wanted it to be easy.

What I have learned as I faced my diagnosis is, it is easy. It is easy if you let it be.

Definition of EASE: the state of being comfortable: as a- freedom from pain or discomfort; b- freedom from care; c- freedom from labor or difficulty; d- freedom from embarrassment or constraint. Naturalness -“known for his charm and ease of manner.” An easy fit.

If we are doing our true work and living authentically, it will be with ease, naturalness. Not that challenges don’t arise, or mistakes get made, but an overall sense of ease will accompany a life lived from the heart. My cancer woke me up to that part of myself I had buried. It still shone through in my art, but in my life the spark had gone out. I found no joy in cooking, or in caring for my things. No depth in my daily interactions and tasks.

In the end the simple things are the deepest.

I have been having various side effects from pain medication and treatments that have forced me to slow down, thus I have taken up my knitting with a new appreciation. Rather than just a way to fill time and relax, I am noticing the texture and subtle color shifts in my work. What a simple and elegant thing, creating a piece of fabric with yarn and needles.

I have also taken an interest in food and cooking that has been latent for some time. It turns out cancer is dramatically effected by diet, and I am committed to do all I can to beat it. Being winter, albeit a warm one, soups have been a real pleasure these past few weeks. Soup, chili, and shopping for fresh ingredients. When was the last time I enjoyed shopping for food, planning a meal?

The thing that has most dramatically changed is my attitude towards my “stuff.” For the past few years I have been complaining about the excess I’ve accumulated and not done much about making it go away. There is that expression about getting your affairs in order when facing death, but I have found even the possibility of death to be motivation. I realize it doesn’t matter so much if I make a couple bucks on eBay, or if every worthless trinket finds a perfect home before hitting the garbage. It is cluttering my life and it must go. I feel so much less attached to the outcome. Every day I tackle a drawer or a pile, a shoebox, or a closet. Just stuff. Let it go… When I do leave this life I want what remains to be easy.

I was visiting with a friend yesterday and explaining all this. I said to her, “You know, this is who I always was, I just lost my way.”

So I say to you, reader:

How many ways are you forcing a lifestyle that is not you?

Is your craft business or day job draining or feeding you? How about the dinner plans?

Finally, where my art business is concerned, I see there, too, I have been playing it falsely. Buying biz plans that don’t suit me and not using them. You know what I mean. Next time Let’s talk about aligning the dollar with living authentically!

From the Heart,

22 thoughts on “returning to self and life’s simple pleasures

  1. Thank you for sharing. “In the end the simple things are the deepest” I needed that reminder this morning. Sending you lots of love and prayers of health your way!

  2. Gwyn, Thank you for this beautiful, honest post. It’s the perfect nudge for a Monday morning reminding me where I’m supposed to be — where things feel natural not contrived, where there is ease. Sending you love, thoughts & prayers. Take care.

  3. Thank you for this beautiful, simple reminder this morning. Life is always shifting, just like the seasons… but our adjustment sometimes feels forced. Praying with you that you body lines up perfectly with the Word of God and you are restored to perfect health now!

  4. Thank you, Gwen. Just what I needed to read right now. There is an area of my life that is forced right now and I’m trying to let it go gracefully. Will be thinking of the word “ease” today.

  5. Beautifully said, Gwyn! My craft business has been draining me, and I am making plans to scale back and explore other creative options. And I definitely agree about business plans and not using them.

    Wishing you health and focus and joy-in art, cooking, and life in general!

  6. Thanks for this, through other kind of warning I got to see that it does not matter who others (or even you think) you are unless you truly believe you are being yourself, a self who flows. It is all about ease as you say.

    I wish you loads of ease and I am sort of sure you will beat it gracefully.

  7. Gwyn,

    You’re an amazing person. So many people would let an experience like yours crush them, but you’re letting it teach you. It’s my hope that if my minor-ish health issue ever becomes serious, I’ll be able to look at it in such a healthy way.

    Right now, my life isn’t forced — there just seems to be no momentum behind it in any direction. That’s definitely something I’ll need to work on!

    All the best,

    — Sarah

  8. i hope everything turns out ok and you beat cancer. you are a real fighter. keep on… you can read “crazy cancer tips” of Chris Carr, a girl who survived cancer. it’s a great source of power and inspiration. i pray for the best….

  9. Ease is not always be easy, many times it requires hard work, dedication, and preseveance. Luckily for you (and me) you have all of these and nothing can take them from you.

    love steve

  10. Everything you wrote made very real sense to me. 4 years ago I was diagnosed with a rare disorder that changed my life. Up until that moment I had spent my life focused on my career and trying to keep on top of everything. All of my energy was gone and my battery was empty with no recharge in sight. It was then that I truly began to see. Although forced in the beginning to slow down and simplify, now it is by choice that I keep my pace slow and steady. I have come to realize that balance and harmony come when you remove your mind from following along with the pace of life that most lead. I am thankful and appreciate each moment and day that I surpass the challenge of getting up and moving forward.
    When I wake I expect nothing, so that I may appreciate everything.
    My focus now is to create my own way.An idea came to me one day and now I am pursuing a life I want. It came to me when my physical challenges made it impossible to sew. I called it U-Fix because of its shape and function. As time passed friends began to want it because it looks like thread. My daughters took it to school and found that their friends loved it. U-Fix how has a sight with no-sew resources and links to projects all over the web. I feel like I can say I have found my way even if it is only for today.
    Thank you for sharing your story. That I found it today of all days when I am feeling a little more challenged, well I guess it was meant to be. I will just say that it helped me on many levels to rebalance.


  11. Gwen, welcome back and thank you. Your message conveys power and hope and sparkling clarity. My best wishes to you as you continue in your healing process.

  12. Gwyn,

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your honestly and truth is what I needed to hear today. Be me, be real, be true to myself- I often need to take a step back and remember these things. Thank you for the reminder.
    Your story has touched many. It seems you have the right outlook on life.

    For you and your story and your honesty, I am grateful.

    I pray all the best for you and a speedy recovery!

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